Researching from within: external and internal ethical engagement

Floyd, Alan and Arthur, Linet (2012). Researching from within: external and internal ethical engagement. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 35(2) pp. 171–180.



This article examines the superficial and deep ethical and moral dilemmas confronting ‘insider’ researchers which we term external and internal ethical engagement. External ethical engagement refers to the traditional, easily identifiable ethical issues that insider researchers attend to by submitting their application for ethical approval to their institution’s internal review board. Internal ethical engagement relates to the deeper level ethical and moral dilemmas that insider researchers have to deal with once ‘in the field’ linked to on-going personal and professional relationships with participants, insider knowledge, conflicting professional and researcher roles, and anonymity. By reviewing the literature in this area and drawing on the authors’ experiences of undertaking interpretive studies at institutions where they were members of staff, we explore these concepts and examine the implications for insider researchers.

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